Originally posted on February 12, 2016 by Vancity Buzz.
From her custom-made wheelchair, seven-year-old Kaitlyn Sidhu is often smiling. Made with a headrest to support her neck and armrests to protect her, adjustments are constantly being made to ensure the chair fits the growing girl perfectly. Her family hopes that one day she will even be able to move the wheelchair by herself.
“Kaitlyn’s primary condition is Semi Lobar Holoprosencephaly, that has caused her brain to form differently than ours,” explains her mother, Amanda Sidhu. “Along with this being a long worded diagnosis, it comes with a lot of challenges both medically and in everyday life. Kaitlyn requires a lot of support, which we have received with the help of Canuck Place.”
Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is British Columbia’s pediatric palliative care provider. Many families – like the Sidhu’s – also receive care from Canuck Place through outreach programs and two provincial hospice locations: Vancouver and Abbotsford. Services include clinical respite and family support, pain and symptom management, 24-hour phone consultation support and in-house clinical care, art and education, recreation therapy, grief and loss counseling, and end-of-life care.
“Canuck Place has truly opened our eyes and taught us to savor life,” says Sidhu. “They have taught us to enjoy the time we have together as a family, to take life one day at a time, and to live in the moment.”
For the second year, Canuck Place is hosting the Gift of Love Gala to raise funds to support the delivery of specialized pediatric palliative care for over 600 children and families facing life-threatening illnesses across British Columbia. Last year, Sidhu told Kaitlyn’s story to the audience of 300 at the inaugural gala.
“Having a medically fragile child is tough, but by sharing her story, I can help people recognize that Canuck Place has helped us tremendously on this journey and has lent us so much support that I don’t think we could have done it without them,” she says. “My hope for this year’s gala is that it continues to bring awareness to what Canuck Place really does for families like ours. I would like everyone to know how grateful the families are to have donors that continue to give their support and help make Canuck Place the amazing place that it is.”